Passings: Mike Harrison, Singer & Founding Member of Spooky Tooth (1945 - 2018)

by VVN Music

Mike Harrison, a founding member of Spooky Tooth and lead singer at various periods throughout their history, died last Sunday (March 25) at the age of 72. 

Harrison's death has been greatly under reported in the media with just a short mention on the BBC and a few other sites.

Mike was born in Carlisle, England and formed the band V.I.P. there in 1963 which also included a young Keith Emerson. They released a series of singles in Britain and at least one ("Mercy Mercy") in the U.S. but never found mainstream success.

In 1967, Emerson left the band to form The Nice and V.I.P. changed their name to Art, releasing one album, Supernatural Fairy Tales. Gary Wright joined the band in October 1967 and they changed their name to Spooky Tooth.

Harrison sang on the four Spooky Tooth albums including 1970's The Last Puff which was billed as Spooky Tooth Featuring Mike Harrison. The band broke up after that set with Harrison releasing two solo albums, Mike Harrison (1971) and Smokestack Lightning (1972) before reforming the band in 1972 with the addition of  Mick Jones (later Foreigner).

Spooky Tooth released two albums in 1973 with Harrison on lead before he left the band again recording his next solo album, Rainbow Rider; however, he discovered that his solo album royalties were being applied to Spooky Tooth debts and decided to quit the music industry. For twenty years, he worked in a variety of jobs including bartender and delivery truck driver.

In 1997, he returned to music, occasionally recording with former Spooky Tooth members which resulted in the band's last album, 1999's Cross Purpose. Two years later, he recorded the album Touch as Mike Harrison and the Hamburg Blues Band.

His later activities included a 2006 solo album (Late Starter), a reunion with Wright and Mike Kellie for the DVD Nomad Poets (2007), and continued Spooky Tooth and solo performances.

2 comments

Anonymous said...

He was 75 not 72

Colin Rusch said...

The research into band history, especially the VIPs, as documented (and clearly copied) by some media outlets is pathetic. I have all the original singles and EPs - bought at the time - released by the VIPs and Keith Emerson, Luther Grosvenor and Mike Kellie were not part of the original band that released the terrific ‘I wanna be free’. Let’s acknowledge the other original members: Walter Johnston (drums), Jimmy Henshaw (lead guitar) and Frank Canyon (rhythm guitar). That line-up: Henshaw, Canyon, Johnstone, Ridley and Mike Harrison was the original band. There is an excellent CD compilation ‘The Complete V.I.P.s on Reperetoire records). Keith Emerson came in for Jimmy Henshaw for a brief period. It’s disappointing that the news about the passing of a truly great vocalist (playing in great bands) was handled - with a couple of exceptions - in such a shoddy manner.

Colin Rusch



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